A Kiwi woman shared an inspirational message about promoting positive body image after some men "pointed and laughed" at her when she took her sarong off at Mt Maunganui Beach.
Shelly Proebstel, from Waipa, posted to Facebook on her page Bald and Beautiful what happened and then listed reasons why people are insecure about their bodies.
"To the guys who pointed and laughed when I took my sarong off today at Mt Maunganui Beach, bearing my soul (my bikini body) to the world, I just want to say (excuse my language but) f*** you!," she wrote.
"It's because of dickheads like you that people are so incredibly insecure about their body image.
"It's because of people like you that women especially don't feel safe or confident or comfortable to go out in society in something like a bikini, or a crop top (they probably aren't even called that anymore!) or a short dress, or with their midriff showing.
"It's because of people like you that people starve themselves and make themselves sick in an attempt to maintain a 'model-like figure'.
"It's because people like you that people become anorexic, obese, bulimic, self-harm, commit suicide ... I could go on ..."
She then wrote that those types of people are not responsible for the entirety, but should take some responsibility.
"So next time you see someone like me on the beach in a bikini or in a situation similar, before you laugh and point, take a moment to think about the damage you may just do, because not every person, young or old, male or female, will have learnt to have the thick skin, or the resilience, or the self confidence, that I do to brush it off," she wrote.
Proebstel then revealed that for a split-second she thought about covering up, but then reminded herself about what she learnt from her journey.
"I held my head high and stuck my belly out and wore that bikini with pride."
She then explains how parents should educate their kids that there is not one body shape and there is a "rainbow of beautiful bodies".
"I urge you to teach them not to stare directly at a bigger stomach than they might be accustomed to seeing on TV or in society, but instead, to look at a person's face and into their eyes.
"I urge you to teach them to be kind to all types of people, regardless of their outer appearance.
"I urge you to teach your children to accept people for exactly who they are on the inside.
"And I urge you to teach your children to be role models to those around them who aren't being taught this, and to be the positive change we need to see in the world, so that in five or 10 or 20 years' time, no more people are pointed at and laughed at by the way they look when they wear a bikini on the beach."
Proebstel received an overwhelming positive response from people online, with her post receiving more than 15,000 reactions and 3000 shares.
"Good for you! I'm trying so hard to not care what other think so I don't damage my young girl's self image!," one person commented.
Another wrote: "Work it girl! The bod, the message, the confidence. Good on you."
"I'd be so happy with your body but your confidence... #OnPoint," one person said.
"Thank you for being so inspirational. The awesome thing is not only that you feel comfortable in your own skin but also that someone who doesn't embrace their non-Barbie shaped curves would've seen you and felt encouraged to do the same."
Proebstel later shared another post, thanking people for their positive responses.
"Wow! What an overwhelming response there has been to my post about wearing my bikini on Mount Maunganui Beach!!," she wrote
"Honestly so much more than I could ever have imagined, it's so humbling! It's clear that this message and experience has struck a lot of people and that's spread the message so far!"
However, she hit back at her "haters and trolls" for leaving awful comments on the post.
"Among the predominantly positive responses, there has been - and always will be - the haters and the trolls who like to add their opinion," she wrote.
"Unfortunately, that's something I can't change. So while those opinions might have been sent to knock me down or change my mind or stop me spreading this message, I want each and everyone of you to know that your comments only do the opposite! They inspire me to spread this message further."
Proebstel has documented her journey of positive on her Facebook page Bald and Beautiful.
This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is reproduced here with permission.